I’m delighted that Microsoft employees are not taking their leaders’ indifference to gay rights lying down. The following communications include a letter of protest circulated among employees and a petition which had over 1,400 employee signatures when the copy I received was sent. Congratulations on standing up for human decency when your superiors seem to have lost the heart to do so:
Please help Microsoft live up
to its values by signing this letter. To add your name, click on Additional Reading below.
I’m proud of Microsoft’s values and our track record on diversity. I
was surprised and disheartened to learn that we decided not to support House
bill 1515 after supporting this bill last year. Our values clearly state that
discrimination based on sexual orientation is unacceptable. Withdrawing our
support for this bill is not a neutral statement—it sends a clear message to the
world that Microsoft will not stand up for our stated values.
Ballmer’s recent email to the company asks, “When should a public company take a
position on a broader social issue?” The fact is that Microsoft, like many
other companies, has already taken a position on discrimination. We have a
responsibility as a leading corporation to support legislation related to this
fundamental workplace issue. I believe it is a mistake to dismiss
discrimination as a social issue; it is a civil rights issue.
From a PR
perspective, it is embarrassing that last Monday we launched our largest
marketing campaign ever and on Friday we received a black eye in the New York
Times for withdrawing support for this bill. Companies such as Boeing, Coors,
QWEST—and even Nike, a company with a poor human rights record due to sweatshop
labor, supported this bill. I can only imagine that this further damages our
already embattled brand.
What can we do to remedy the damage we’ve done
to civil rights in Washington and to reaffirm our commitment to living up to our
Here are three suggestions:
1. Reinstate support for HB1515
and other anti-discrimination legislation.
2. Investigate whether Brad
Smith’s decision was influenced by Pastor Ken Hutcherson. The evidence outlined
in The Stranger article indicates this was a factor.
3. Make a financial
donation to an anti-discrimination group in WA.
I hope that our senior
leadership has the courage to take action that shows Microsoft stands firmly
united against discrimination.
The Stranger Article:
The New York Times Article:
http://msweb/sites/mlerner/Lists/reading/AllItems.aspx [internal MS site inaccessible to outsiders]
Current count is 1444
I am sending you this letter because I
consider you part of my community at Microsoft. I know that many people are
upset that Microsoft chose to withdraw support for HB1515, the
anti-discrimination bill, after supporting this legislation last year. Our
company values clearly state that discrimination is unacceptable in any form. I
think it is a mistake to dismiss discrimination as a social issue; it is a civil
I believe we have a responsibility as a
leading corporation to support legislation related to such an important
workplace issue. Please stand united with me against discrimination by signing
the following open letter to Microsoft management:
I hope that you will also take ten minutes
to forward this email broadly to your
community at Microsoft. If each of us takes the time to forward this
email, we will collect enough signatures to make a strong statement that we
believe Microsoft has a responsibility to take a position on this fundamental
civil rights issue. I am going to forward the link above to my management chain
on Wednesday evening, so please sign the petition and send your emails now.
Thanks in advance,
Now, if only Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates and Brad Smith would listen to the voice of reason coming from their own employees.